Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chris and Delbert


delbert and chris
Originally uploaded by emery_rose
This is a photo of Chris with his grandfather, Delbert at a family barbeque last weekend. People always tell Chris he looks just like Delbert. Can you see the resemblance?

Lightroom experimenting

I'm trying out another new photo-editing program, adobe lightroom. So far I really like the interface and I'm excited about what I've done with some of the photos. Here are a few that I liked from the trip to Amarillo.

The Blue Hole, on the way to Amarillo in Santa Rosa, NM, is a deep hole in the ground that incredibly clear water flows into. It's a popular place to learn to scuba dive, as well as a very nice swimming hole.




Abby jumping in the trampoline.




This is a detail of the top of Chris's stepmom, Lisa's Harley, which is very pretty especially with the reflection of the sky in it.



A couple of these looked a lot clearer before I exported them. I'll have to keep working on this, especially on that part of the process.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sand and Slot Canyons

I've always loved photos of sunlight filtering down into a slot canyon. The walls are so close together that the light is often concentrated into a single shaft that comes through, and lets you see the cool, damp air. Slot canyons remind me of Northern Arizona, home, and of being in a quiet, solitary, thoughtful place. I miss being able to drive just a few hours and be in an amazing canyon, or forest, or have an amazing view, or swim in a river. I miss walking almost anywhere in town, and I miss that in Flagstaff, almost anywhere you are is within ten minutes of being in the forest, on foot.

These photos are obviously not of slot canyons, or of any of the other things I mentioned. They don't even really look like slot canyons, but there is something about looking into the center of a big agave that reminds me of a canyon. The way the light filters into a mysterious, hidden center somewhere inside.






This weekend Chris and I drove to Amarillo. We stopped at white sands on the way back, which was beautiful. It has been raining a lot recently, creating huge shallow puddles that reflect the sand and the clouds like mirrors.












I have a few more photos from the trip that are worth posting, but I'll put them up later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

1 More from Honduras: Underwater

We had a little disposable underwater camera with us on the trip, just for the snorkeling. We finally got them developed today. They're pretty low quality scans of not too great images, but they're a lot of fun. You can sort of get an idea of what the coral reef looked like, although the blue of the water overpowers some of the color.

A starfish at Bando Beach. One of our first snorkeling attempts.




On our trip to Water Key, the private island we saw a lot more brain coral and colorful fish.










I'm not sure where this one was. Maybe the Blue Bayou, or West Bay?




West Bay Beach was, as I said, by far the best snorkeling.













That's it for the honduras posts. I'll put more photos from the trip on flickr once I get caught up on everything around here. Otherwise, it's back to everyday life for a while.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Santa Rosa de Copan

The last town we visited was called Santa Rosa de Copan. Although there were almost no tourists, and no real attractions, the town itself was quite beautiful. It was the only place in Honduras that Chris and I thought, we could live here.

Up higher in the mountains, the town was a little bit cooler. The cobblestone streets going up and down the hills made for some pretty views, and a lot of exercise.







Another thing we were impressed by was the rooftop pool at our hotel. It had really nice views of the city. Too bad it was the only day on the whole trip that we weren't hot and sweaty! It was too cold to get in.




I love this photo that Chris took. There were some really pretty colored doors and walls in Santa Rosa.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gracias, Lempira

We're home now, and settling in to our schedules. The final days of our trip were some of the most interesting, as well as some of the most remote in terms of internet access and time for blog posting. I have some photos and stories from the last two towns we visited that I still want to share, so I'm going to drag the trip postings out a little. Today I'm going to post some photos from the first town we visited after Copan.

The town of Gracias, Lempira (Lempira is the name of the district) has only a few thousand inhabitants. Unlike most of our other destinations, Gracias sees far fewer foreign visitors. Those tourists who do make the trek are mostly only there for the cloud forest expedition from just outside of town, and don't seem to leave their hotel.

Town of Gracias with El Celaque mountain (the moutain is much higher than it looks, but almost always covered in clouds):


We didn't have the time or the equipment to attempt the two to three day exhausting trek up into the cloud forest, but our guidebook said, "The sleepy colonial town of Gracias is worth a visit all in itself." Okay, we thought, we'll visit Gracias.



The town had mostly dirt streets, very simple architecture, only a few restaurants, and one touristy hotel.



After a few hours we had seen most of what the town had to offer, and were questioning whether the three ancient, tightly packed school buses we'd tracked down to get here were actually worth it. In fact, I would still say that the bus rides were probably the most interesting part of the trip.



On the bus to Gracias (as I mentioned, the third school bus we'd been on that day), there were quite a few more people than you might imagine could fit into a school bus, all sitting. As more and more people boarded the bus, they were asked to scoot over, allowing people to sit down. Children don't get a seat, they are expected to sit on parents laps. Adults sit three to a seat (yes, these are the school bus seats you remember). So, imagine three women sitting in one school bus seat, each woman has a child sitting in her lap. This means there are six people sitting in one seat. In other seats of course, there were only three people, but needless to say, the bus was full.

As it started to rain, the old man behind me wanted to close the window. I asked if he wanted my help. Hearing that I spoke Spanish, and not seeing many Americans on that route, he wanted to ask some questions. First he asked me where I work (this tipped us off to the fact that we were in fact, not on the way to a quaint, touristy town, but actually headed to a town where people wondered what we could possibly be doing there if not some kind of work). He also wanted to know whether the U.S. was just like Honduras. "No," I said, "It's desert where I live, much drier." How could I begin to explain the differences? That it feels like a completely different world? Then, in the generous tradition of the people who live in that area, the Lenca, he reached over the seat and handed me four little yellow cherry-looking things and said, these are for both of you to try. I am always amazed by the generousity of people. This little family packed into one seat on the bus, wanting to share their culture and their little bag of goodies with us. I was quite touched.

Despite the fact that the town was somewhat less spectacular than what we expected, here are some of the photos I took there.






This is one of my favorites from the entire trip:




This one is actually from Copan, but I didn't have a chance to add it before. It reminds me of on that I took in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico.




I have more to share, from the town of Santa Rosa de Copan, but I think this is enough for now. I'll share the rest of them soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Butterflies

We visited a butterfly preserve the other day. Here are a few of the photos I really liked. I have lots to write about from the past couple of days about a little town up in the mountains. I'll post it later today.

On a banana leaf




Large butterflies eating fruit




Monarch




Of course, to attract the attention of butterflies you need beautiful flowers.




Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Macaw Bird Park

Yesterday we hiked up through the hilly town to a bird sanctuary. We saw rescued Macaws, Toucans, and other types of birds. The best part was holding the birds. Some babies and some huge birds. Even three Macaws at a time!










Copán Ruinas

I’m getting behind in my days of blog posting. Today I might have to post two days worth (i.e. probably too many photos). Our hotel is actually a bed and breakfast, and the breakfasts are good. The fruit plate was especially photogenic.


We visited the ruins of Copán yesterday. I took what felt like several hundred photos, but here are just a few of them. There were bromeliads in all the trees and all over the ground. They grow so big that they cause the tree branches to break, and then they just keep growing in big clumps on the ground.






A street in town:


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roatán to Copán

After a rather rocky start to the morning and a scamming cab driver the day improved as our bus climbed into rainy mountains approaching Copán. The landscape is such a bright green it’s almost unreal, and the high mountains engulfed in clouds add another dimension to the otherworldlyness of the spectacle.



We’re beginning to appreciate the ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread as there is no other food to be found on a full day of ferries and bus rides.
We arrived in the sweet, cobblestone-paved town of Copán shortly before sunset. The taxi that took us to our hotel was more like a like motorcycle with a canvas cover. It had a driver and a navigator seated precariously on the side of the driver’s seat.



The navigator was friendly and interested in talking, which made us feel instantly comfortable. The feeling in Copán of comfort and friendliness has continued.
Our room is tiled with red tile, has a high ceiling with wood beams, a nice mosaic tiled bathroom, and a little writing desk. The hotel belongs to a nice couple, and includes a main room filled with books, free good Honduran coffee, a TV with cable and movies, and advice from the nice owner who is from New York. His wife is Honduran. We haven’t met her yet, but have heard that she makes good breakfasts in the morning that are served in the garden that sits outside our door. The garden has hammocks, tropical plants and flowers, tables, and a view of cloud-covered mountains and countryside that I could look at for hours.






Honduran typical fare was a surprisingly satisfying dinner at a local restaurant. The plate usually consists of refried beans, an egg, some ham, sour cream, a piece of salty cheese a little like feta, and fried plantains. While it may not sound exciting, we thoroughly enjoyed it this evening. It is quite a satisfying meal that Hondurans seem to eat for both breakfast and dinner.
Having woken up at 5:00 AM to catch the ferry from Roatán this morning, we’re relaxing this evening. More exploring and photos to come.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

West Bay Beach

We went yesterday and today to the beach a few kilometers down from our hotel. The beach is called West Bay and there are several resorts along it. The snorkeling from the beach is incredible. Less than a hundred feet from the shore you swim along in deep, crystal clear water with huge coral formations on either side of you. There is a channel that runs along through the coral reef, and fish of every kind and color swimming around and through the reef. Amazing. There was a group of scuba divers a little way out from us, and several other snorkelers so we felt less alone and were able to venture further into the unknown. Wow.







We passed this old boat as we walked along the almost deserted beach in between West Bay and the West End (where we are staying). We just couldn't resist, so here is another self-timer photo.




We're headed to Copan tomorrow, so it might be a couple of days before I can post again. This is it for the photos of blue water I think. On to the jungle.